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Stars hope lineup experiment yields more winning results

Bowness says he likes the balance of size, speed and grit on each line that helped produce a win Saturday at St. Louis

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer
Stars (31-19-5) vs. Hurricanes (32-20-3)

7:30 p.m., American Airlines Center

TV: FOX Sports Southwest; ESPN+

Radio: The Ticket 1310-AM, 96.7-FM

 

DALLAS -- Rick Bowness was not on the bench for Saturday's 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues, as he was under the weather. However, he ran all of the meetings in the morning and he was key in shuffling his forward lines around.

The juggling worked out, as Dallas played a strong overall game against the defending Stanley Cup champions and had the advantage in both shots on goal (34-25) and in shot attempts (55-48).

While the Stars have been dealing with illness and injuries this week, there's a very good chance the lines Tuesday against Carolina look very similar to what we saw against the Blues.

"We liked the look of our lines on Saturday," said Bowness, who was on the ice the past two days and will return to coaching the Stars tonight. "In the process of trying to spend more time in the offensive zone and score more goals, you have to try different things and find out what can work. The only way you do that is to experiment.

Video: CAR@DAL: Bowness on matchup with Hurricanes

"We put those lines together (Saturday) morning, liked the look of them then, and they looked good last game. We're hoping that can continue."

Bowness very much believes in the strength of rolling four lines and balancing forward minutes, and that's one reason the new lines appealed to him.

The coach broke up Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn and put the captain with Jason Dickinson and Denis Gruianov, while playing Seguin with Roope Hintz and Corey Perry. The Dickinson line had five shots on goal, while the Seguin line had eight. Meanwhile, a line with Joe Pavelski, Mattias Janmark and Joel Kiviranta had three shots on goal, and the checking line of Radek Faksa, Blake Comeau and Andrew Cogliano also had three. Kiviranta was the low forward in time on ice at 11:15, while Seguin was tops at 20:21.

"There's some size on each line, there's some grit and speed on each line," Bowness said. "Hopefully, we'll see tonight what we saw last game."

 

Perry heating up for Stars

Corey Perry is starting to find his stride.

After playing 14 seasons with the Anaheim Ducks, Perry had a tough task transitioning to a new team this season. Injury kept him out for the first seven games and he also had to deal with a five-game suspension, so he at times looked out of place.

But in more recent games, Perry has fit right in. He has a goal and two assists and has been an offensive catalyst in the past five games.

Video: DAL@NYR: Perry slams in juicy rebound

"He's hanging onto the puck more," Bowness said. "He's got good puck skills, he's got good range. He's a big strong guy that can protect the puck and he's hanging on to it a little longer and he is making more plays. He's getting more opportunities."

Perry said he's just feeling better and relaxing more on the ice.

"That's the biggest thing, playing with confidence in this league," Perry said. "If you don't have any, you feel like it's going the other way and you're going one way. But right now, working hard, trying to hold on to it and good things are happening."

 

Radulov expected to return to lineup

Alexander Radulov missed last game with an upper-body injury, but is expected to return tonight. Radulov has been hot and cold lately. He had a two-goal game against Toronto, but he has gone goal-less in nine out of the past 10 games and has just one assist in the past 15 games.

His return means that Kiviranta will probably come back out of the lineup.

Video: CAR@DAL: Comeau on first matchup with Canes this year

Bowness said he wants to get Andrej Sekera back in after two healthy scratches, so Roman Polak will come out. Taylor Fedun is expected to miss his 11th straight game as a healthy scratch.

Anton Khudobin will be in goal for the Stars. He is 4-1-1 in his career against Carolina with a 1.96 goals against average and .927 save percentage.

 

By the numbers
16

Seguin last scored a goal on Dec. 28 against Colorado. His goal-less streak of 16 is the longest in his career.

 

19

Benn has 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) in 17 career games against Carolina. He is plus-9 in that span.

 

194

Carolina has been shorthanded 194 times, second most in the NHL. The Hurricanes rank ninth in penalty kill success at 83.0 percent and also have the third most shorthanded goals at nine.

 

He said it

"You watch them play and they're a good team. There are no weaknesses on this team. It's going to come down to the same things it comes down to every night, which is our compete level, winning puck battles and talent having to make plays. It's pretty much the recipe every night."

-- Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour on facing the Stars for the first time this season

 

Stars projected lineup

Jamie Benn - Jason Dickinson - Denis Gurianov

Roope Hintz - Tyler Seguin - Corey Perry

Mattias Janmark - Joe Pavelski - Alexander Radulov

Andrew Cogliano - Radek Faksa - Blake Comeau

Esa Lindell - John Klingberg

Miro Heiskanen - Stephen Johns

Andrej Sekera - Jamie Oleksiak

Anton Khudobin

Ben Bishop

Scratched: D Roman Polak, LW Joel Kiviranta

Injured: C Justin Dowling (lower body), C Martin Hanzal (back)

Join the Stars for Military Appreciation Night as they take on the Carolina Hurricanes at American Airlines Center tonight at 7:30 p.m. Get your tickets now!

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika, and listen to his podcast.

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